UK Unveils Strategy to Defend Arctic in Light of Alleged Russian Threat
21:50 30.09.2018(updated 21:53 30.09.2018)
LONDON (Sputnik) - UK Defense Minister unveiled on Sunday the country's new Defense Arctic Strategy, citing increasing threats in the region and Russia's alleged attempts to militarize it.
"As the ice melts and new shipping routes emerge, the significance of the High North and Arctic region increases. Russia, with more submarines operating under the ice and ambitions to build over 100 facilities in the Arctic, are staking a claim and militarising the region. We must be ready to deal with all threats as they emerge," UK Defense Minister Gavin Williamson was quoted by the ministry as saying while presenting the strategy.
According to the ministry's statement, the new strategy puts the Arctic and the High North at the heart of the United Kingdom's security.
In particular, the Arctic strategy stipulates that the UK Marines would continue undergoing joint training with Norwegian counterparts on a long-term basis.
As part of the strategy, four RAF Typhoons will start patrolling skies of Iceland in 2019, which is expected to help deter aerial threats to the Euro-Atlantic security, according to the ministry.
In 2020, the United Kingdom will also dispatch new P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft to the region to help combat "increasing submarine activity in the Arctic," the ministry added.
Finally, the Royal Navy is planning to step up its regular under-ice deployments in the coming years.
Earlier, London repeatedly expressed concerns over Russia's alleged increasing military presence and activities in the Arctic region, and voiced fears that navigation in the Arctic could be limited. Moscow has consistently dismissed the allegations, noting that it considers the Arctic to be an area for constructive dialogue and equal, conflict-free cooperation in the interests of all nations.
In August, Russian Ambassador at Large and Senior Arctic Official Vladimir Barbin pointed to NATO's ongoing military build-up in the region, citing its upcoming Trident Juncture 18 drills, the alliance's recent decision to set up the new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic based in the US city of Norfolk which would be in charge of the Arctic-Atlantic zone and Washington's efforts to re-establish its Second Fleet, mainly operating in Northern Atlantic.
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